Throughout the years and across the globe, our understanding of medicine has grown by leaps and bounds. We’ve used plastic and stem cells to build new tracheas for cancer patients. We’ve performed double arm transplants. We’ve even helped a newborn survive a serious heart condition by controlling his internal body temperature and his heart rate with a cold gel and a defibrillator.   
In East Semitic cultures, the main medicinal authority was a kind of exorcist-healer known as an āšipu.[8][9][10] The profession was generally passed down from father to son[8] and was held in extremely high regard.[8] Of less frequent recourse was another kind of healer known as an asu, who corresponds more closely to a modern physician[7] and treated physical symptoms using primarily folk remedies composed of various herbs, animal products, and minerals, as well as potions, enemas, and ointments or poultices.[7] These physicians, who could be either male or female, also dressed wounds, set limbs, and performed simple surgeries.[7] The ancient Mesopotamians also practiced prophylaxis[7] and took measures to prevent the spread of disease.[7]

Contrary to what might be expected, the widespread practice of embalming the dead body did not stimulate study of human anatomy. The preservation of mummies has, however, revealed some of the diseases suffered at that time, including arthritis, tuberculosis of the bone, gout, tooth decay, bladder stones, and gallstones; there is evidence too of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis, which remains a scourge still. There seems to have been no syphilis or rickets.


Throughout the years and across the globe, our understanding of medicine has grown by leaps and bounds. We’ve used plastic and stem cells to build new tracheas for cancer patients. We’ve performed double arm transplants. We’ve even helped a newborn survive a serious heart condition by controlling his internal body temperature and his heart rate with a cold gel and a defibrillator.   

This was a common scenario in wars from time immemorial, and conditions faced by the Confederate army were even worse. The Union responded by building army hospitals in every state. What was different in the Union was the emergence of skilled, well-funded medical organizers who took proactive action, especially in the much enlarged United States Army Medical Department,[135] and the United States Sanitary Commission, a new private agency.[136] Numerous other new agencies also targeted the medical and morale needs of soldiers, including the United States Christian Commission as well as smaller private agencies.[137]
In the Middle Ages the church operated hospitals. In 542 a hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Lyon, France. Another hospital called the Hotel-Dieu was founded in Paris in 1660. The number of hospitals in western Europe greatly increased from the 12th century. In them monks or nuns cared for the sick as best they could. Meanwhile, during the Middle Ages there were many hospitals in the Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world.

As we prepare to refocus on this topic during the February 2017 Functional Forum, we take a look back at this special presentation. Dr. Brogan advocates for and empowers women through her women's health focused practice. Physicians are quick to medicate their patients with potent psychotropic drugs. Get the most up-to-date, accurate information on natural ways to improve emotional well-being using food, nutrients and dietary supplements.
Upon the outbreak of a cholera epidemic in Alexandria, Egypt, two medical missions went to investigate and attend the sick, one was sent out by Pasteur and the other led by Koch.[116] Koch's group returned in 1883, having successfully discovered the cholera pathogen.[116] In Germany, however, Koch's bacteriologists had to vie against Max von Pettenkofer, Germany's leading proponent of miasmatic theory.[117] Pettenkofer conceded bacteria's casual involvement, but maintained that other, environmental factors were required to turn it pathogenic, and opposed water treatment as a misdirected effort amid more important ways to improve public health.[117] The massive cholera epidemic in Hamburg in 1892 devastasted Pettenkoffer's position, and yielded German public health to "Koch's bacteriology".[117]
From the early nineteenth century, as lay-led lunacy reform movements gained in influence,[157] ever more state governments in the West extended their authority and responsibility over the mentally ill.[158] Small-scale asylums, conceived as instruments to reshape both the mind and behaviour of the disturbed,[159] proliferated across these regions.[160] By the 1830s, moral treatment, together with the asylum itself, became increasingly medicalised[161] and asylum doctors began to establish a distinct medical identity with the establishment in the 1840s of associations for their members in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and America, together with the founding of medico-psychological journals.[23] Medical optimism in the capacity of the asylum to cure insanity soured by the close of the nineteenth century as the growth of the asylum population far outstripped that of the general population.[a][162] Processes of long-term institutional segregation, allowing for the psychiatric conceptualisation of the natural course of mental illness, supported the perspective that the insane were a distinct population, subject to mental pathologies stemming from specific medical causes.[159] As degeneration theory grew in influence from the mid-nineteenth century,[163] heredity was seen as the central causal element in chronic mental illness,[164] and, with national asylum systems overcrowded and insanity apparently undergoing an inexorable rise, the focus of psychiatric therapeutics shifted from a concern with treating the individual to maintaining the racial and biological health of national populations.[165]
As infectious diseases have become less lethal, and the most common causes of death in developed countries are now tumors and cardiovascular diseases, these conditions have received increased attention in medical research. Tobacco smoking as a cause of lung cancer was first researched in the 1920s, but was not widely supported by publications until the 1950s. Cancer treatment has been developed with radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgical oncology.
c.484 – 425 BC Herodotus tells us Egyptian doctors were specialists: Medicine is practiced among them on a plan of separation; each physician treats a single disorder, and no more. Thus the country swarms with medical practitioners, some undertaking to cure diseases of the eye, others of the head, others again of the teeth, others of the intestines,and some those which are not local.[2]
Contemporary humans in developed countries are mostly free of parasites, particularly intestinal ones. This is largely due to frequent washing of clothing and the body, and improved sanitation. Although such hygiene can be very important when it comes to maintaining good health, it can be problematic for the proper development of the immune system. The hygiene hypothesis is that humans evolved to be dependent on certain microorganisms that help establish the immune system, and modern hygiene practices can prevent necessary exposure to these microorganisms. "Microorganisms and macroorganisms such as helminths from mud, animals, and feces play a critical role in driving immunoregulation" (Rook, 2012[26]). Essential microorganisms play a crucial role in building and training immune functions that fight off and repel some diseases, and protect against excessive inflammation, which has been implicated in several diseases. For instance, recent studies have found evidence supporting inflammation as a contributing factor in Alzheimer's Disease.[27]

The sexual revolution included taboo-breaking research in human sexuality such as the 1948 and 1953 Kinsey reports, invention of hormonal contraception, and the normalization of abortion and homosexuality in many countries. Family planning has promoted a demographic transition in most of the world. With threatening sexually transmitted infections, not least HIV, use of barrier contraception has become imperative. The struggle against HIV has improved antiretroviral treatments.
This week on the Evolution of Medicine podcast, we take a look back at a very special presentation from Dr. Leo Galland from our 2014 Evolution of Medicine Summit. Our next Functional Forum is entitled the "Evolution of Primary Care", which will address the most significant way functional medicine can impact medicine as a whole... as an updated operating system for primary care.

Discover the history of medicine through our rich and unique collections, which include over 20,000 monographs and 4,000 manuscripts, as well as photographs, illustrations, medical instruments, medals, and a variety of medical artifacts. We also offer a setting for classes, provide research consultations, host a speaker series and other special events, exhibit items from the collections, and issue a regular newsletter and special publications.


This week’s podcast features: Daniel Schmachtenburger, co-founder and director of research and development at Neurohacker Collective, in Complexity Medicine: The Basis for a Functional Standard of Care. Daniel is a deep thinker and researcher on how human regulatory systems function, how they break down and how they can be supported to function with greater resilience.
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